Luca Pacioli Pacioli, Luca, approximately 1445-1517

renaissance mathematician

This article was transcribed for New Advent by Christine J. Murray. Visit Author Central to update your books, profile picture, and biography. This file has been identified as being free of known restrictions under copyright law, including all related and neighboring rights. Apparently, after 1506, Pacioli and Leonardo da Vinci went their separate ways. Following an appeal to the doge of Venice, it was decided that Pacioli, and no one else, would have the privilege of publishing his work in the republic for the next 15 years. …written by the Italian mathematician Luca Pacioli and illustrated by Leonardo. Let us know if you have suggestions to improve this article .

  • Today, standardized accounting practices are in use across the globe, helping companies around the world to stay afloat, attract investment, and keep the engine of the world economy running.
  • Subsequently, Pacioli once again taught at the ‘University of Perugia,’ followed by the universities of Naples and Rome.
  • It was later moved to Florence through Vittoria della Rovere-Medici, belonging to both the reigning dynasties of Urbino and Tuscany.

Pacioli was one of the great compilers of his time, producing works that were summaries of the knowledge of his contemporaries. That he borrowed heavily from others to produce his works is not unprecedented among those who wish to bring the gems of knowledge to a wider audience, and certainly this was his aim. Woodcut from De divina proportione illustrating the golden ratio as applied to the human face. Pacioli was a man of deep faith coupled with a great love for knowledge.

Summa de Arithmetica, Geometria, Proportioni et Proportionalita

De divina proportione (written in Milan in 1496–98, published in Venice in 1509). Two versions of the original manuscript are extant, one in the Biblioteca Ambrosiana in Milan, the other in the Bibliothèque Publique et Universitaire in Geneva. The subject was mathematical and artistic proportion, especially the mathematics of the golden ratio and its application in architecture.

What is Luca Pacioli known for?


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However, following a complaint in 1491, he was banned from teaching the young men of the town. He had been granted minor privileges by the pope, which probably stirred jealousy in his religious order, resulting in his teaching getting banned. Luca Pacioli moved to Rome, where he lived for several months in the home of mathematician/architect Leone Battista Alberti. Through Alberti, Pacioli came in contact with the papal chancery and began studying theology. Between 1472 and 1475, he was ordained as a Franciscan friar. Our editors will review what you’ve submitted and determine whether to revise the article. After translating an article, all tools except font up/font down will be disabled.


Understanding his role in accounting history is important for understanding Western history and the way in which the economy functions today. In 1494, Pacioli published his most famous work —Summa de Arithmetica, Geometria, Proportioni et Proportionalita.


Italian mathematician and friar Luca Pacioli is considered the originator of double-entry bookkeeping. He was also one of the first to systematize the study of number theory and games of chance. In 1496, Luca was invited to go to Milan to teach mathematics at Ludovico Sforza’s court. At Milan, he became good friends with Leonardo da Vinci, a court painter and engineer. They discussed mathematics and both gained a lot from the discussions. During this time, he started working on Divina Proportione.


However, he was apparently raised by the Befolci family in Sansepolcro. He completed his initial studies in the local language and not in Latin. He received at least part of his early education at the studio/atelier of Piero Della Francesca in Sansepolcro. Leonardo da Vinci drew the illustrations for Luca Pacioli’s 1509 book De Divina Proportione . Drawing of the Duodecedron Abscisus Elevatus Vacuus, consisting of 120 equilateral triangles, from the manuscript of the book. The Ducal Star, a glass lampshade based on a mathematical design that dates back to the 1400s, is a symbol of Urbino’s Renaissance. The shape of this star is considered mathematically perfect and was first described in De Divina Proportione , a book by mathematician Luca Pacioli, illustrated by Leonardo da Vinci, which dates to around 1497.

The person on the right has not been identified conclusively, but could be the German painter Albrecht Dürer, whom Barbari met between 1495 and 1500. In 1497, he accepted an invitation from Duke Ludovico Sforza to work in Milan. There he met, taught mathematics to, collaborated, and lived with Leonardo da Vinci. In 1499, Pacioli and Leonardo were forced to flee Milan when Louis XII of France seized the city and drove out their patron.

Thomson Reuters names ‘Luca Pacioli Award’ winners – Accounting Today

Thomson Reuters names ‘Luca Pacioli Award’ winners.

Posted: Thu, 07 Nov 2019 08:00:00 GMT [source]

While it is sometimes said that Pacioli offered nothing new to the sciences, his works stand as a monument to Renaissance publishing, being as they were a compendium of the significant intellectual accomplishments of his time. His life was enriched by the friendships he made with historic personages, and his writings attest to many facts that would otherwise have been lost to subsequent generations. Portrait of Luca PacioliArtistAttributed to Jacopo de’ BarbariYearc. The painting portrays the Renaissance mathematician Luca Pacioli and may have been painted by his collaborator Leonardo da Vinci.

He became a Luca Pacioli friar and is known to have collaborated with Italian inventor and artist Leonardo da Vinci. After this, Luca Pacioli went to Zara, which was then under the Venetian Empire . These first three arithmetic books were not published, and except the book written in Perugia, the others were lost. Subsequently, Pacioli once again taught at the ‘University of Perugia,’ followed by the universities of Naples and Rome.

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